For as long as I can remember, there's been a pressure to make a New Year's Resolution that's weight focused. Last year mine was to get back into a size 12 (we can all take a guess at whether that happened), but in the past I've promised to do more exercise, join a gym, cut out chocolate, cut out junk food, cut out biscuits, go swimming, etc etc. And it's all been with the main intention of getting back to that weight that I always have in mind as my 'ideal weight' (which when I hit back in my first year of uni obviously soon became 'too big' in a vicious cycle of needing to get slimmer).
I threw out my scales over a year ago now. I thought it would help with the obsessive desire to lose weight, and for a while it did. But I found alternative ways to obsess over it. First it was seeing if I could reach around my wrist with my hands, and then it was wearing different pairs of jeans of slightly different sizes to see exactly which fit the best. And so on.
This is the first year that I've found the self confidence to say no to pressures from the dieting industry and family and friends. This year, one of my goals isn't to lose weight. One of my goals is to do more yoga to help my stress levels, which will keep me healthy, and I'm still doing the same amount of exercise as I've been doing over the past couple of months. I'm not however going to be cutting out food groups, or counting calories, or joining a weight loss group or any of the things we're pressured to do in January.
This year I'm angry. I'm angry that throughout December companies put pressure on yourself to 'treat yoself', eat that extra slice of cake and feast on your favourite foods. And then they spend January making you feel like shit for exactly what they encouraged you to do in December. It's all a money game in the end, and I'm angry that companies use our insecurities to make themselves big bucks, but it's hardly news.
I'm angry at companies like slimming world, that make a whole lot of money keeping you in the loop. They force you to count everything you eat, making you obsess over every morsel that enters your mouth. They make 'syn free' ready meals piled with things that aren't really all that good for you, and then make you feel guilty when you've been following their advice and no weight has shifted.
The media in January is filled with guilt-inducing topics. Whether it's telling you exactly how many calories are in a roast dinner (honestly no one needs to know this), or advertising the latest Kayla Itsines workout video all over Facebook, it's there to make you feel worthless. It's there to make you think 'oh shit, I really need to join a gym, and buy workout gear, and cut out a food type because doing those things will make me feel better'. But the pressure just makes you feel worse before it can get any better. Imagine a world in which we ate what we want throughout December, and did the same in January with no snarky comments from co-workers about the fact that they lost 4 kilos since the New Year, and how it's 'not enough' whilst they eyed you up and down. Things could be so different.
I'm not knocking anyone who chooses to change their diet and lifestyle to lose weight in January (although it might seem like it). If you want to have a healthier lifestyle, and that involves losing weight and you want the motivation of a New Year to do it, then go for it. I 100% have your back. Instead, I'm knocking the fact that the mentality is forced on everyone, especially women. There's an instant expectation that January is a time for weightloss, and people seem shocked when you tell them it's not for you.
This year I'm saying a big F U to the diet industry, and the idea that I need to cut out foods, or buy expensive memberships to places to be a human being worthy of respect. This is the year that I'm respecting myself, irrespective of my size.